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Tastes Like Home

The Camellia Bean Blog

At Bienvenue, Red Beans & Rice Are Right at Home

It was near the end of the lunch hour, and Bienvenue restaurant manager Jimmy Capella noticed an older woman and her daughter were leaving after their meal. He went over to say hi, ask how everything was, and make sure they left happy.


Bienvenue restaurant manager Jimmy Capella holding white plate of food inside restaurant

Bienvenue Means “Welcome” in French

It’s those personal touches that make Bienvenue — which means “welcome” in French — a great addition to the roster of classic, old school, New Orleans neighborhood restaurants.

Open since 2018, Bienvenue offers a menu that’s a creative mix of American/Southern cuisine and traditional New Orleans dishes. Almond-crusted gulf shrimp and filet mignon are served right alongside po-boys and red beans & rice.


 inside Bienvenue restaurant looking into kitchen through order up counter.

Red Beans & Rice: A Classic Slow-Cooked Recipe

What type of beans does Bienvenue use? Camellia Brand Red Kidney Beans, of course.

That’s the way it has always been. The current chef, Matthew Knoff, uses a classic recipe developed when the restaurant opened.

As per Bienvenue custom, the beans are soaked in water for 24 hours, and “I season them while they soak,” says Knoff. He adds bay leaves and some other spices, which he says are a “secret.”

When the 24 hours are up, the mixture is cooked over a low flame.

Knoff then chops green peppers, red peppers, and onions, and adds them to a pan in which he has cooked smoked sausage and bacon, adding more bacon grease as needed. When completed, this mixture is added to the beans.


 close up image of cooked plate of Bienvenue Red Beans and rice

The Result is Creamy Red Bean Goodness

Five hours later, the result is creamy red bean goodness. Knoff says cooking the red beans slowly for a long time is the key to the right consistency. “We don’t want something with chunks of vegetables,” adds the chef.

Knoff cooks red beans twice a week, batching them for future servings. Capella guesses they get about 150 servings per batch, or 20 quarts. The red beans are served with rice and a Patton’s hot sausage patty, though Capella noted they can be served with chicken or grilled shrimp, as one customer prefers. The final touch is a slice of Gendusa’s bread on the side.

You’ll Also Find Red Beans in the Big Easy Wrap

The red beans also find their way into the restaurant’s Big Easy Wrap – a combination of red beans, rice, fried chicken tenders, smoked sausage, provolone cheese, and an in-house “tiger” sauce.


 wide shot of dining room inside Bienvenue restaurant.

New Orleans’ Favorite Comfort Food

Knoff, who has been the chef at the restaurant for just a few months, is originally from the Northeast. He had his first taste of red beans and rice in 2009, and liked it, noting he understands the local love for the dish. Comparing it to a favorite comfort food from his neck of the woods, he adds, “It’s kind of like eating mashed potatoes and gravy to me.”

After all, red beans and rice is comfort food that’s right at home in New Orleans.

Bienvenue, 467 Hickory Ave., Harahan; (504) 305-4792;; Hours: Mon.-Thus. 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 4:30 p.m.- 8 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat. 5 p.m.-8:30 p.m.; Sunday brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m.